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'I don't think anything should be taken for granted': AFL keeping options open for future grand final start times

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27th September, 2021
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Gillon McLachlan is open to the AFL grand final returning to a day timeslot when the premiership decider eventually returns to the MCG.

The chief executive said the league will keep its options open, despite the success of later starts in Perth and Brisbane.

Melbourne’s thumping win over the Western Bulldogs on Saturday night was a triumph for Optus Stadium, as well as the Demons.

The match started at 5.15pm local time in front of a 60,000-plus crowd.

Last year, Richmond beat Geelong in a night grand final at the Gabba.

But once COVID-19 restrictions ease and the grand final can return to the MCG, McLachlan hinted that the game could return to an afternoon opening bounce.

“It was pretty spectacular here … it was a pretty good slot I thought,” McLachlan told 3AW from Perth.

“To have the first half in the day, second half in the night, I like where it was – for this stadium I think it went perfectly.

“But MCG’s different – we’ll process it and have a look.”

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McLachlan said the game would be reviewed, with the commission to make the final call on when the grand final should start at the MCG.

“I don’t think anything should be taken for granted, we’ll have a look at it,” he said.

“I know how many people want it during the day at the MCG.

“I think you play it on its merits given the venue, the state, the circumstance.”

Meanwhile, McLachlan said it was disappointing that Demons coach Simon Goodwin did not have the chance to make a speech at the post-game presentation.

The winning coach’s speech is an important tradition – think Paul Roos’ “here it is” when Sydney broke their drought in 2005.

But MC Basil Zempilas forgot to invite Goodwin to the microphone before the Demons were presented with the premiership cup.

“It was a mistake. Mistakes happen, it was disappointing for Simon. But it was a mistake,” McLachlan said.

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“Simon will have his moment and I don’t think it’ll stop the Dees supporters from loving every minute of it, too much.”

© AAP

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